From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Givens, Reuben, and Ruth Newby Givens Roper

Givens and Roper are the parents of actress Robin Givens, former wife of heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson, and they are the parents of Stephanie Givens, former professional tennis player. Both Reuben Givens and Ruth Newby Givens Roper are Lexington natives. Reuben was a star baseball and basketball player at Douglass and Lafayette High Schools. He was coached by Charles H. Livisay at Douglass. In 1962, Givens averaged 24.7 points in basketball, winning the Fayette County scoring title, but he did not receive the trophy after the sponsor backed out. He was the first African American basketball player at Lafayette; Douglass High was closed as part of the school system's integration plan. Givens graduated from Lafayette in 1964, the same year he married Ruth Newby. The family lived in New York, where Reuben Givens was tending his options as a professional basketball and baseball player. Ruth had been living in New York with her mother since her parents had divorced when she was a small child; she met Reuben while visiting family in Lexington. Reuben and Ruth Givens divorced in 1969. Reuben Givens, who still resides in New York, is the son of Betty and Dave Givens, the nephew of professional baseball player Lou Johnson, and a brother of University of Kentucky basketball player Jack Givens. For more see the Lexington Herald-Leader articles: B. Reed, "Robin Givens' dad a former Douglass High star," 10/20/1988, Sports section, p. C1, and "Robin Givens' parents are Lexington natives," 10/15/1988, Sports section, p. D17.

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Outside Kentucky Place Name


Cited in this Entry

NKAA Entry: Livisay, Charles H., Sr.
NKAA Entry: Johnson, "Sweet" Lou
NKAA Entry: Givens, Jack L. "Goose"
NKAA Entry: African American Schools in Lexington and Fayette County, KY
NKAA Source: Lexington herald-leader (newspaper)

Related Entries Citing this Entry

NKAA Entry:  Givens, Jack L. "Goose"

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Givens, Reuben, and Ruth Newby Givens Roper,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed October 20, 2020,

Last modified: 2019-05-27 14:26:24